How to plan a Western family ski trip
When planning a Western ski trip for your family it's important to take it one step at a time, as such detailed planning can become overwhelming.
- First, focus on the location you want to visit and set a budget.
- Then, focus on the details - airfare, lodging, meals, ski school and non-ski activities.
- As soon as you book your location, book ski school lessons, as classes fill up quickly.
There are many Western ski resorts to choose from. Many do an excellent job at catering to families. One of the most important considerations is safety – wear those helmets!
- Close to Vail, Beaver Creek is a smaller resort and is known as an upscale family ski mountain. In fact, the resort's tagline is "Not Exactly Roughing It".
- There are many non-ski, family-friendly activities going on almost every day of the week, making Beaver Creek a great choice for family members who don't want to ski everyday (or at all).
- One of the signature ski activities is Ski with a Ranger, a guided ski tour of beginner and intermediate trails on Beaver Creek Mountain lead by Forest Service Rangers. The Ranger teaches all about the environment of the mountain and other cool insider tips.
- Disco Skate Night at the ice rink in the middle of the Beaver Creek Village is another popular activity.
- Dinner at Beano's Cabin is not to be missed. It's great for a romantic dinner for parents or for the whole family.
- The Lodge at Beaver Creek is located in Beaver Creek Village and is the only all-suite hotel at the resort, giving families a little extra room than a traditional hotel.
- The Osprey at Beaver Creek is a very upscale, luxurious hotel. It is the closet hotel to a chairlift in North America - the ultimate in convenience.
- If you are looking for a more affordable option, staying in a condominium is a good choice - not only because of the base price, but also because a kitchen allows you to cook your own meals instead of eating in a restaurant for every meal.
Park City, Utah
- 35 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah, a destination with direct flights from all over the US.
- A great resort for families, Park City has a a great ski school program, Ski Signature Five, where there are no more than five kids in ski school at any one time. The students receive more individualized attention and they all can ride the 6 passenger chairlift with the instructor without having to break up the group. If the kids are under five years old, there are no more than three kids allowed with an instructor at any one time. This program offers the benefits of a private instructor without the price tag.
- Park City Condos are great for families because they feel more like a home than a hotel and there's a free shuttle service that takes guests to and from the slopes everyday.
Keystone and Breckenridge
- Both Keystone and Breckenridge are owned by Vail Resorts, so skiers can buy one pass and ski both mountains.
- Keystone is known for having the biggest night skiing operation in North America, which is a lot of fun for teens and tweens.
- Breckenridge is known for its Terrain Parks, which are great for snowboarding and learning tricks.
- Keystone and Breckenridge are known for having more moderately priced accommodations than other resorts out West. There are many condominiums and townhouses that have the amenities of a hotel, like maid service, but the space and kitchen of a real home.
- In Breckenridge, the Pine Ridge Condos offer fireplaces, full kitchens and dining rooms in each unit. And, the free town shuttle stops right outside the front door.
- In Keystone, River Run Village is a great value located within walking distance of shopping and dining.
- There are an abundance of activities, so do your research to find the ones that are right for your family (and budget). Activities include snow biking, snowmobiling, ice skating on a 5-acre lake and exploring an authentic mine, to name a few.